No, it’s not the Nautilus. No, it is not commanded by Captain Nemo and he who writes about it is not Jules Verne either. However, almost certainly the ship has sailed as many or even more miles of sea voyage as the legendary submarine.
Ramón Margalef, Spanish ecologist and naturalist, a pioneer in the studies on marine ecology, is the one who gives a name to this star vessel of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography equipped with the best technologies to track the seabed without harming its flora and fauna.
At the foot of the footbridge that gives access to its interior awaits its true captain, Roberto. On the tour, the first 43 new cabin boys -visitors- who join the crew.
Inside the Margalef
The troop climbs slowly and in small groups of approximately ten people so that you can easily and safely know the secrets that will be discovered.
Once on board and, between the rocking of the waves rocking the boat, visitors enter the first of the rooms. It is the acoustics laboratory. Alejandro, the computer technician, explains how sounds are used to see what is underwater without the need for cameras, “we emit the sounds and collect the echo that has come back, the computers will tell us where the fish are and where we have to fish.
“Once the fish bank is found, a sample is taken to discover what species it is. Then the calculation will be done to know the amount, the data that is sent to the Government to determine the fishing quota, “if the number of the species is low it can be determined that it is convenient to prohibit fishing in order to preserve the species”.
The geology echosounder provides information about what lies beyond the sea floor, data processed by geologists, and the bathymetry probe makes maps of the seabed through the emission of sound and its return time. On the screen, the submarine volcano of El Hierro shows who’s entrance in erupted in 2011 supposed the launching of the Margalef the same year in which it had been launched.
Then we arrive at the dry lab that works in collaboration with the wet laboratory and its prolongation on the roof, in which physics, chemistry and biology studies are carried out. There are study conditions such as salinity, conductivity, density, temperature and oxygen concentration that allow you to determine at which point of the earth one is located almost without the need for GPS.
It is the study of all those microparticles that explain why the ocean behaves as it does, the person in charge indicates that “the more you know the marine environment, the more you realize that you really do not know anything and that you are going a little bit”.
Along the route, you hear a horn coming from the bridge where the navigation is managed and the safety on board. It is the playground for children.
Its captain defines it as the juiciest activity of the 50th anniversary of the Oceanographic Center of A Coruña, the big shot of the festivities, but it will not be the only one, the celebrations began in February and will continue until November 23.
Source: El Ideal Gallego